Welcome to my Den of Delights! Please make yourselves comfortable.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

4 out of 5 Stars

Eleanor and Park was my first book by Rainbow Rowell and certainly won't be my last.

This was a charming book about two teens in Omaha Nebraska, in 1986, who don't quite fit in but find an unlikely friendship and love in each other.

Eleanor, the red-haired, freckled, slightly overweight new girl, who dresses in shirts and ties and even a necktie/scarf around her wrist as a wristband, finds an empty seat next to Park on the school bus.

Park is a Korean-Irish American who loves comic books and listening to his walkman, and he reluctantly lets Eleanor sit next to him. Park is "beautiful" with his green eyes and "skin the color of sunshine through honey".

I loved that Eleanor was chubby and beautiful in her own way and did not fit society's usual concept of beauty. Having been the chubby girl, myself, I completely related to Eleanor and her body issues. I felt with her through the bullying and her difficult home situation.

I loved how Park opens "his seat", his comic book, then his music and his heart to Eleanor.

There was no love-at-first sight here, but their relationship starts with some awkward sitting next to each other, sharing of comic books and music, and develops into something beautiful. I appreciated the realistic way that Rainbow Rowell developed the growing feelings between Eleanor and Park.

This character-driven story was told deftly by Ms Rowell in Eleanor and Park's alternate third-person point-of-views, with their distinctive "voices". I loved both these characters.

The book deals with issues of race, bullying, body image and domestic violence.

I loved the 1980's setting and it made me very nostalgic, especially for putting together mix-tape cassettes. :-)

This was a charming, sweet, heart-touching and heart-breaking story.

The ending felt abrupt, to me, and is the reason I'm giving this 4-stars. I just needed MORE. But still... what a wonderful read!

Thank you to my friends Jenn "Awww ...Yeaaahhh", AHenry and Viola for the recommendation!

Lovely Fan Art by IzziBelle on DeviantArt

Some of my favorite quotes:


"If Park were to look up at her now, he'd know everything.

He didn't look up. He wound the scarf around his fingers until her hand was hanging in the space between them.

Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm.

And Eleanor disintegrated."


"Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

As soon as he touched her, he wondered how he'd gone this long without doing it. He rubbed his thumb through her palm and up her fingers, and was aware of her every breath."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Photoetry: Mercurial Calm

Mercurial Calm

Ever feel like just when
You think you’re calm and in control,
And a careless word or act 

Just rips up your soul?

That calm you thought you’d cultivated
Was actually as unstable as mercury;
And just like that, from coping,
You’re drowning again in misery.

Like a slight disturbance to a pond’s surface
Causes ripples that resonate all around,
Even the slightest of prodding,
Causes a pain so intense, it’s the only sound.

The sound of your pounding heart,
Roaring in your ears;
The sound of the wretched sobs,
Torn out of you with your tears.

So how to find a calm that isn’t mercurial?
That’ll keep you steady in a storm tossed pond?
All I know is what’s helped me,
And that’s faith and hope in a divine bond.

~ Written by Jayne Michellane a.k.a. Lady Jayne on 30 January 2013. Photo taken on 28 January 2013. 
The water in these shades made me think of mercury, 
and recent events made me think of "Mercurial Calm". 
Then, this poem just poured out.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Photography: ...A Little Flower...

"Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine, 
freedom, and a little flower." ~ Hans Christian Anderson.

Photo taken at Topiary Cafe, while waiting for 
lunch to be served, on 25 January 2013. 
There are photo opportunities, everywhere. :-)

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Photoetry: Opening the Doors Within

This poem is dedicated to all who are brave enough to open the doors within themselves.

~*~Opening The Doors Within~*~

I walked through the hallways of my mind,
Searching and searching for something… 
Something I felt I needed to find.

There were many doors,
I saw along the corridors,
But when I tried to open them,
Some would open, but some were jammed;
Some were locked up tight,
And staring at those sealed doors,
Something just didn’t feel right.

In the ones that could open easily,
I could peer in and see,
All those wonderful memories,
Of times when I was happy.

In the rooms where the doors
Were rather stuck,
There were echoes of times,
When I was a little down on my luck.

As I passed the doors,
Through which I could not see,
I wondered and wondered…
Where would I find the keys?
Did I even want to know,
What was on the other side?
Perhaps it was better to leave,
Whatever was there to continue to hide.

One thing I have learned of Life,
To find peace in the midst of strife,
Is that peace actually comes from within,
And being comfortable within my own skin.

But I am not brave enough yet,
To open all the portals;
What can I say?
I am a mere mortal;
So, one day, maybe,
When I am truly ready,
I’ll obtain the keys,
To allow me to fully see…. ME.

~ By Jayne Michellane a.k.a. Lady Jayne, February 2009.
Photo taken 25 August 2012. 

"Until God opens the next door for you,
praise Him in the hallway."
~ Author Unknown. ♥

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Photoetry: The Four Seasoned Path

~*~The Four Seasoned Path~*~

I walked a path one day,
It was one of those halcyon days,
The path had four seasons in one,
With a slight mist hiding sun.

The winter-like brush,
Spring blossoms’ pink blush,
Summer green grassy specks,
Bronze autumn leaf flecks.

The calm and the peace,
Erased my frown’s crease,
In the embrace of that feeling,
On that path I found healing.

~ By Jayne Michellane a.k.a. Lady Jayne, 23 January 2013. 
Photo taken on 1 September 2012.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

5 Stars!!!

WOW. SO DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED!!! Beautiful, real and moving.

It’s been a long while since I finished a book the same day I started it, but I did with this. I couldn’t put On the Island down! Even though I was meant to be doing work at home, this past weekend. I was THAT hooked!!


Sometime last year, I saw many 5-Star reviews for this book, and I added it, just waiting for the right time for when I was in the mood for a Blue Lagoon type of story.

I have to admit, though, I felt a little bit concerned about how I would feel about the huge age difference between the characters, which caused me quite a bit of discomfort, before I started, as I try my best not to discriminate. I shouldn’t have worried, though - or doubted my Goodreads friends who loved this - as author Tracey Garvis-Graves does an excellent job of building and unfolding this touchingly beautiful story of a 30-year old teacher and summer tutor, Anna Emerson, and 16-year old cancer survivor, T.J. Callahan, who become stranded on a deserted, uninhabited Maldivian island when their seaplane crashes.

Anna and T.J. are stuck on the island for quite a few years and they go through many harrowing hardships, together, and quite a few seriously life-threatening ones. As they both fight for survival, battling hunger, thirst, the elements, boredom, missing their families, predators and disease, they form an understandably close bond.

As T.J. turns from boy to man, through trusting each other with their lives, hopes and dreams, relying on each other, mutual respect and affection, and feeling as if they would spend the rest of their lives alone on that island, their relationship eventually develops to another level. They realise how they wouldn’t have survived if not for having the other and how happy they make each other.

A debut novel? No way! This was WONDERFUL! Ms Garvis-Graves draws the reader in and doesn’t let go. The alternating first person point-of-views gives the reader valuable insights into, and a strong sense of connection to, both characters as one is transported onto the island with them. The incorporation of certain global events also made the story feel more grounded in reality and my heart broke again recalling that particular moment in time.

On the Island began as a self-published ebook and Ms Garvis-Graves has now sold the foreign rights to it to more than 20 countries. I understand the movie rights to it have also been sold. Very excited for the movie and I hope the makers do it justice!

I loved both Anna and T.J. Both of them, for their tenacity and determination. Anna, for her understanding and care for T.J.; how she treated him as an equal and not a child. T.J., for his maturity, strength, pragmatism, honesty and just his utter sweetness. Having battled death a number of times, T.J. knew what he wanted, and he wanted Anna. What starts as a boy’s crush and friendship turns into so much more, over the years, and while Anna battles to do right by T.J., she is surprised by how this young man makes her feel valued, wanted and respected as a woman as she never has before.

On the Island is such a beautiful love story, which would never have developed under different circumstances. But how would the real world treat their love and how would it survive off the island?

Okay, there were a few things that seemed just TOO convenient, like Anna’s suitcase, with quite a bit of soap and shampoo supplies, a first aid kit, etc. washing up on shore from the plane wreckage. Of course, it could also be realistic, depending on the current patterns around that island. Considering how much of the things from the plane wreck did wash back up on the island, I’ll go with that scientific explanation! Yes, I’m showing my geekiness and also my willingness to suspend disbelief. LOL Considering all the traumatic things that Anna and T.J. go through, I was very happy for all the things that washed up to make the primitive life on the island just that little bit easier for them and assisted in their survival. :-)

I learnt what an "atoll" is - a coral island (or islands) that encircles a lagoon partially or completely - and how Maldives has many of them.

Malhosmadulhu Atoll seen from space. 
"Fasdutere" and Southern Maalhosmadulhu Atoll can be seen in this picture.
So beautiful!

The epilogue brought tears to my eyes and I had a big grin on my face, in the end. This is definitely a keeper.


I happened to hear this song the very next day after reading this, entitled Moments, written by the very talented Ed Sheeran, and sung by One Direction. It’s become T.J.’s song to Anna for me. :-)


One of my favourite quotes:

In February, I woke up from a nap. A bouquet of flowers gathered from the various bushes and shrubs scattered around the island lay on the blanket beside me, a small length of rope wound around their stems.
I found T.J. down at the shore. “Someone’s been checking the calendar.”
He grinned. “I didn’t want to miss Valentine’s Day.”
I kissed him. “You’re sweet to me.”
Pulling me closer, he said, “It’s not hard, Anna.”
I stared into T.J.’s eyes, and he started to sway. My arms went around his neck and we danced, moving in a circle, the sand soft and warm under our feet.
“You don’t need music, do you?”
“No,” T.J. said. “But I do need you.”’